May 26th, 2008, 20:40 Posted By: wraggster
Blu-ray players will outsell standard-def DVD players by this August, according to several high-end electronics retailers, as reported by Video Business.
The research firm NPD said this month that sales of standalone Blu-ray players (not including Play Station 3 consoles) fell 40 percent from January to February in the U.S. Blu-ray sales increased two percent from February to March.
The sales numbers were disappointing because Toshiba announced in February that it was pulling the plug on Blu-ray's high-def disc rival, HD DVD.
But the retail executives say Blu-ray player sales have been slowed by a lack of supplies, and not a lack of interest from consumers. Ultimate Electronics, Crutchfield and Bjorn's all say demand for Blu-ray players has exceeded demand for the standard-def DVD player since the format war ended.
The executives say Blu-ray makers such as Sony, Panasonic and Samsung will soon launch new players, leading to more supply at retail. Additionally, the new set-tops will likely allow stores to lower prices on current Blu-ray models, which also could trigger more sales.
Rick Souder, executive vice president of merchandise for Crutchfield, tells Video Business that Blu-ray supplies have been low because companies were surprised by the sudden end to the format war.
“People have been waiting weeks for Sony players, but it should get better later in the summer,” said Rick Souder, executive VP of merchandise at Crutchfield. “In August, it will be the first time that Blu-ray overtakes (standard DVD) sales for us on a unit basis.”
Souder said Blu-ray revenue has already exceeded revenue from the sales of standard-def DVD players.
Mat Duda, merchandising director for Ultimate Electronics, told Video Business that more retailers will use Blu-ray as a vehicle to educate consumers on the benefits of High-Definition.
“There should be a healthy supply (of Blu-ray players) by August and (manufacturers) should be caught up in production,” said Duda. “You’ll see Blu-ray catching up with standard DVD.”
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